2013 Highlight Reel | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

2013 Highlight Reel

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Bryan Flynn

This past year has given us some memorable up-and-down sports moments, both as a state and in the greater sports world.

The year started with Mississippi State losing its bowl game to Northwestern—Dan Mullen's first bowl loss. Four days later, Ole Miss won its bowl game against Pittsburgh to finish out a great first season for Hugh Freeze.

The year gave us one of the most memorable Super Bowls in history, with two brothers coaching opposing teams in the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers. The game came down to the final play, and the Ravens won—but most people might remember the lights going out in the New Orleans Superdome during the third quarter most of all.

Ole Miss had one of the most entertaining players in all of college basketball in Marshall Henderson. The Rebels reached the NCAA Tournament, and Henderson became one of those players folks love to hate (but Ole Miss fans love to love). The bid to the Big Dance also earned Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy a fat new contract.

Speaking of the NCAA Tournament, Louisville won, but Wichita State turned Cinderella until the Final Four (where they lost to the eventual champions). La Salle bounced Ole Miss but joined the Shockers and Florida Gulf Coast as mid-majors to reach the Sweet Sixteen.

Southern Miss didn't make the NCAA Tournament, but the Golden Eagles were a one-seed team in the NIT. USM beat Charleston Southern and Louisiana Tech before falling to BYU in the quarterfinals and falling a game short of reaching Madison Square Garden.

The biggest local sports moment of the year arguably came from the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament. Both Ole Miss and Mississippi State made the tournament, but the Rebels couldn't get past William and Mary, losing twice.

Mississippi State, on the other hand, made a magical run starting by winning the Starkville Regional. The Bulldogs next won the Charlottesville Super Regional by defeating No. six national seed Virginia in two straight games to reach the College World Series.

The magic didn't stop there for head coach John Cohen's MSU squad. Bulldog magic swept Omaha, Neb., as Mississippi State defeated national third seed Oregon State to reach the championship series.

Mississippi State added to the SEC's streak of reaching the finals with the Bulldogs making it six straight for the conference. MSU's magic finally ran out against UCLA in the championship series as the Bruins won two straight to win their first baseball title and 109th title in all sports.

The NBA Finals were a thrilling seven-game series between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs. It featured a Spurs choke job in game six and a Heat blowout in game seven.

In case you missed it, the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Boston Bruins for the Stanley Cup. The Boston Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals to win the World Series in game six.

Southern Miss football finally broke a 23-game losing streak in the final game of the 2013 season with a win over UAB.

Finally, the year ended with both Mississippi State and Ole Miss playing in bowl games to bookend the year.

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